The Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum Winner Is....

The Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum was held on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., with around 450 attendees who paid $500 a ticket to hear all the GOP candidates (except Ron Paul who was not invited).

Rick Santorum summed it up best when he said, “It’s not easy to be a Jewish Republican.”

This is true, considering Obama’s promise of hope and change won 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008, the most he garnered from any group except African Americans.

But for Jewish Republicans 2012 represents a different kind of hope and change. Hope that in the next presidential election a large chunk of their brethren will see the error of their ways, change parties, and vote for anyone but Obama.

Hope, after all, has always sustained the Jewish people. However, historic voting patterns offer little hope because Jewish loyalty to the Democrat Party has been in the high 70% percent range for decades.

For example, when I told a liberal Jewish family member that I was attending the Republican Jewish Forum she said, "GOP Jewish Forum? What a joke!"

But all the Republican presidential candidates did not think this gathering was a joke. The proof is they all made time in their busy schedules to attend, speak alone on stage for about 20 minutes, and then answer questions directly from the audience.  As a group they were impressive and extremely articulate. They pledged support for Israel and not one used a teleprompter.

On my personal applause meter, on a scale from 1 to 10, here is how the candidates moved the Jewish Republicans, and how I determined today’s “winner.”

Rick Santorum earned a 4 when he was introduced and a 5 when he concluded. He got polite applause but made no great connection… truly a warm-up act.

Jon Huntsman was a 5 when introduced and a 5 when he concluded. He is qualified to be president but he is lacking passion.

Mitt Romney earned an 8 when he took the stage with a standing ovation. Then Romney earned another 8 when he finished his remarks but then close to a 9 and another standing ovation when he finished answering questions from the audience.  Romney was the main act, but Newt was still to come.